International Intrigue

"Half our customers are outside the U.S.," says Rackspace.com CEO Graham Weston. Rapid global growth makes sense, as "high-bandwidth sites are expensive to host in Europe," according to Formula1.com CEO Nicky Morris. But it also opens the door for a lot of competition, especially in Europe.

Aberdeen Group's George Peabody considers this worldwide growth a validation of Rackspace.com's business model. But some analysts say that as the company grows and eventually establishes data centers overseas, selecting the right partners will be crucial.

Rackspace.com keeps a close eye on Data Return Corp., which went public in October and has watched its stock rise since its initial public offering. Data Return is Microsoft-only; Rackspace.com supports Solaris, Linux, Windows NT and Cobalt.

But Rackspace clearly considers Linux its specialty. "We have the largest installation of Linux servers under management in the world," Weston says. And what of NT? "We love NT. We'll support legacy systems for a long time," he jokes.

The Competition

AboveNet Communications Inc.

San Jose

www.abovenet.com

Broad range of colocation and service offeringsData ReturnDallaswww.datareturn.comProvides Microsoft-only Web and application hostingDigexBeltsville, Md.www.digex.comCo-location and Web site management, with strong service focusDigital Nation (a Verio Inc. company)Alexandria, Va.www.digitalnation.comServer and application hostingExodus CommunicationsSanta Clara, Calif.www.exodus.comA colocator that offers broad range of hosting and outsourcing servicesNaviSiteAndover, Mass.www.navisite.comNominally an application service provider, NaviSite also serves as a colocator and server outsourcer

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